Foreign words often used in the English language, what they mean, and how to properly use them.
Ad hoc (Latin) – concerned or dealing with a specific subject, purpose or end
example: An ad hoc committee was formed to investigate the corruption allegations in the Justice Department.
Angst (German) – dread and anxiety
example: Teenage angst can be much to deal with.
Bona fide (Latin) – in good faith; genuine
example: He is a bona fide environmentalist, a genuine green advocate.
Carpe diem (Latin) – seize the day
example: You may be a bit nervous, but now is your chance to shine. Carpe diem!
Dolce Vita (Italian) – sweet life; good life of physical pleasure and indulgence
example: My trip to Amanpulo was pure indulgence. A week of pure, uninterrupted dolce vita.
Ennui (French) – boredom; lack of interest
example: With the prevalence of gadgets that keep people connected, even a short period of silence engenders ennui.
Faux pas (French) – social blunder
example: Speaking ill of the deceased is considered faux pas.
Hoi polloi (Greek) – the common people
example: Magnum is the latest obsession of the hoi polloi.
Quid pro quo (Latin) – something for something; an equal exchange
example: Their arrangements are never one-sided, they’re always quid pro quo.
Zeitgeist (German) – thought or sensibility characteristic of a particular period of time
example: The zeitgeist of the hedonistic eras of old is to blame for the insatiability of this generation.
A good number of words prevalently used in the English language are actually not English. So, it’s important to use them only if we’ve familiarized ourselves with their actual meaning. Nobody wants to be committing a faux pas and be the talk of the hoi polloi. 😉